As standards of personal conduct, decorum, and appearance continue to slide, various local authorities in the United States from time to time attempt to push back. This year's episode of Civility Strikes Back, relates to the baggy-pants half-moon.
Inner-city style trends currently call for extremely baggy pants, worn as low on the hips as physically possible. Depending on the personal anatomy of the wearer, this leaves the whole top half of the underwear revealed, or lack thereof should such be the case.
Several cities and towns in Louisiana, including New Orleans, and the city of Atlanta, have begun the process of passing laws prohibiting wearing pants so low as to cause this problem. Having been taught for years to "Just say No to crack," both police and schoolkids find this taking on a whole new meaning.
Since this particular style happens to be most prominently chosen by the hip-hop culture, the usual suspects are crying "Racism!" Never one to let debauchery go undefended, the ACLU sternly warned that such laws may be unconstitutional, reminding us of the unusual sartorial choices of our Founding Fathers. Just kidding! No, the ACLU has simply taken the right to bear arms, and turned it into a right to bare behinds.
Joking aside, the question at hand is: are these laws a racist attempt to "repress" black culture? And if so, would it be unconstitutional?
Well, according to U.S. Rep. Gus Savage, (D, IL), "Racism is white. There ain't no black racism." And we find the city councils involved, to be... well, not white. They are, in fact, themselves black. In the case of the controversial Atlanta hearing, many people speaking in favor of the ban had themselves participated in the civil rights movement, and referred back to that movement as an argument on their side. Said Lonnie King, "I don't think we're doing our ancestors due justice for some of the things we are doing today. It's time for us to push back."
There's no doubt that young blacks do tend to prefer this unappealing choice of clothes. But a short walk down a city street will reveal no shortage of white youngsters, Hispanic youngsters, you-name-it, doing exactly the same thing. How, then, does race have anything to do with this?
The real issue here is not what the law actually says, but the question of disparate impact. Today's racial-preferences brigade believe that the measure of a law is not its intent, nor even its language, but simply its result. If the law disproportionately strikes blacks, regardless of the color-blind intent, nature, and enforcement, then, ipso facto, it is a racist law!
So everything from capital punishment to literacy requirements are racist, not because color is mentioned anywhere in the statues, but simply because more than 11% of criminals convicted under the law are black. Similarly, any company with fewer than the anointed percentage of employees of the appropriate color, is suspected of racist hiring practices. After all, if the result isn't the right one, what other reason could there be?